DEAD-CAT BOUNCE? I know, I know. If I obsess over the daily polls, I'm going to go nuts, and you're going to stop reading. Still, some results from Gallup bear scrutiny.
Yesterday's USA Today reported that George W. Bush had "widened his lead" over John Kerry to seven points. Susan Page wrote:
As the campaign enters its last eight weeks, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows Bush at 52%, Kerry at 45% and independent candidate Ralph Nader at 1% among likely voters. Before the convention, Bush led Kerry by 2 percentage points.
As Page noted, that's among "likely voters." But in her next paragraph, she reported that among "registered voters," Bush led Kerry by just two points, 48 percent to 46 percent, with Nader at four percent. Hmmm. Who are these creatures that USA Today considers likely unregistered voters? Don't you have to be registered to vote? Yes, there are some unregistered voters who will register before November 2. But obviously these are the least motivated of potential voters, and neither candidate should count on many of them stumbling to the polls on Election Day.
For Kerry, it gets better. Late yesterday afternoon Bloomberg moved a story reporting that Gallup now shows the gap between Bush and Kerry among registered voters to be just one point - 49 percent to 48 percent. After five weeks of Kerry-bashing, culminating with Bush's widely praised convention week, the race is still essentially where it's been since March: in a dead heat. At least among those who care enough to be already registered to vote.
Thanks to Bloomberg Radio's Michael Goldman for passing this along.